*** Recommended *** Some people may find Towle Theater’s “Swing State” heavy going. Forget about the title, this musical is not about elections. It’s about two people who would probably never meet under normal circumstances. It’s about bigotry, intolerance and loss. It’s very well acted, but a lot of the content is uncomfortable to hear/see. It should get people thinking. 3 Spotlights
Bonnie (Ellie Campbell), a kindergarten teacher who wrenched her back, rushed to her favorite chiropractor to get some relief only to discover that he’s gone and there’s a stranger sitting in his office. The stranger, who introduces himself as Neil (Mark LeBeau), says he just bought the practice, and she’s his very first patient.
Desperate for relief, Bonnie decides she doesn’t care who he is and demands that he fix her back, but instead of the painful manipulation she expects, he does something New-Age-y and completely different. When he’s done, she doesn’t have any more pain so she goes back to her classroom. On the way out, she tells Neil to sell the practice back at whatever bargain price his predecessor is willing to pay because ‘you people’ are never going to be successful here. In spite of the rules, she’s determined to bring her religion into the classroom and whenever her back flares up, she returns to Neil, but she’s his only patient because of the things she’s said about him.
I can’t even imagine why anyone would write a play about a gay man and a born-again Christian, let alone a musical. While neither character is very empathic, I loathed Bonnie’s intolerance. I lived in a small town in Ohio very like the one in the play, and met more than one Bonnie. It was not a good experience.
“Swing State” runs through March 10th at the Towle Theater, 5205 Hohman Avenue, Hammond. Parking is free. Running time is 2 hours including an intermission. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm; Sundays at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $19. FYI (219) 937-8780 or www.towletheater.org.
Read more reviews by Carol Moore at www.spotlightonake.com.